On 11th November 2006 at 01:10 Michael Q wrote...
This is a wicked album. Bought it after seeing him support Foos, not surprised all the hype has kicked in now, just hope it doesn't put people off as this really is worth checking out.
By Scott Matthews
As contradictory as it sounds, 'Passing Stranger' is an album as worldly as it is firmly rooted to classic folk. A heavy influence of international styles and instrumentation is mixed with Scott Matthews' thoroughly English vocals and guitar work. The album contains ten full-length tracks that are fused together using seven musical interludes, creating a 50 minute masterpiece of cultural variation.
Indian nuances are evident in the grand opener 'Dream Song'. The tabla beats, strings, and pitch bending fit Matthews' slight vocal vibrato and create a mystical track familiar to those seeping out of the speakers of a Hyde Park shisha café.
American blues is paid tribute to by 'Sweet Scented Figure', a track introduced by 'Blue in the Face Again', an interlude of chugging guitar beneath an adlibbing harmonica. Scott's vocals sound like they belong to the 70s in this song, his modest warbles full-deserving of comparison to Nick Drake.
Concluding our round the world trip, 'City Headache' has a distinctly French feel to it, with swaying minor chords and the addition of an accordion conjuring the image of buskers on the wet streets of Paris. But it is the traditional English folk tracks that form the foundation for the album. 'Elusive', Scott's first single, has been enthusiastically acclaimed by Radio One DJ Jo Whiley, however it is 'Eyes Wider Than Before' that stands out as the main reason to buy the CD. This song is like a whisper: the drums played by a butterfly, and the guitar picking by a caterpillar with millions of tiny agile feet. But not literally of course.
Insects don't like folk.